irish-sportssponsorshipAgain Minister of State for Health Róisín Shortall in Ireland has pledged alcohol sponsorship of sports events is to be ended. “I am committed to phasing that out over a reasonable period of time,” she said in the Dáil. There is “no room for ambivalence in our approach”.

Ms Shortall was responding to Fianna Fáil spokesman on children Charlie McConalogue, who asked if the Government was committed to banning “the advertising of alcohol in conjunction with sports events”.

The Donegal North East TD raised the issue following research published yesterday which found young people who drank to excess were more likely to suffer from severe depression, stress or anxiety. The Headstrong/UCD survey of 14,000 people aged from 12 to 25 found 38 per cent had problematic or harmful drinking behaviour, and 7 per cent of those surveyed showed signs of alcohol dependence.

Referring to the research, Mr McConalogue said “alcohol abuse has become a cancer in our society in recent years” and he demanded to know the Government’s response to the report and what it would do to address the problem. Ms Shortall, who has responsibility for primary care, stressed that “we as a society can no longer tolerate the level of alcohol abuse in this country, particularly among young people”. She said “there is no room for ambivalence in our approach”, adding that the Department of Health was working on “developing an action plan on alcohol based on the recommendations in the substance misuse strategy report”.

Recommendations from the majority report of the National Substance Misuse Steering Group, published in February, included a ban on all alcohol sponsorship of sporting and large outdoor events, as well as a ban on outdoor advertising of alcohol, higher excise duties on some alcohol products and the introduction of minimum pricing. Pledging to end alcohol sponsorship of sports events, the Minister said “there are contractual arrangements in place at present, and I am working with the different national sporting bodies to agree a proposal to phase that out over a period of time”.

McConalogue questions the Government’s commitment to banning alcohol sponsorship of sports events, he said “we should be promoting sports as an alternative to those who are drinking too much but instead it is intrinsically associated with sporting events”.

If you are interested in Sport Sponsorship by the alcohol industry, we would like to direct you to the recent findings of the AMMIE Project>>

Source: Irishtimes.com 05/17/12

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